12 Monkeys: This Is How You Adapt a Weird Short Film

Illustration for article titled 12 Monkeys: This Is How You Adapt a Weird Short Film

You probably haven't seen La jetée. It's a weird, but interesting French short film from the 60s, composed mostly of photographs. It's almost a slideshow. I actually saw it during an English class (weird, right?) in college, and while it was interesting—intellectually stimulating even—I didn't enjoy watching it. I'm glad to have watched it, but that's not quite the same thing.

12 Monkeys, the 1995 feature film inspired by La jetée, on the other hand, is a fantastic watch—and a great thing to have watched—all the way through; it's a fantastic example of how an adaption can take leads from it's source material, stay appropriately faithful, but create a new, uniquely interesting beast nonetheless.

For those of you who aren't familiar, 12 Monkeys is a time-travel story starring Bruce Willis as half-"standard Willis badass," half-"scared manchild" and Brad Pitt as an off-the-wall mental patient. Think way-less-cool-and-totally-unhinged Tyler Durden. Willis, from a future where humanity is plagued by a deadly virus, is repeatedly sent back in time to try and gain information about how to fight the disease, all the while feeding into this absolutely wonderful stable time-loop. There's more, but suffice it to say you should just go see for yourself if you haven't already. Or even if you have; the film holds up.


You can check it out on Netflix. And, if you're into it, the full 26 minutes of La jetée are available on Vimeo. It's really interesting seeing how they fit together, but man I remember being bored with La jetée. Maybe I'll give it another shot. [Netflix, Vimeo]

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Mark Carlson

I think, grammatically speaking at least, you mean adaptation... not adaption. Also, I love that movie, it's very thought provoking and intellectual, in a fun and funny way.